Although Zagreb is not normally associated with winter sports, you can ski right outside town at Sljeme, the main peak of Mt Medvednica. Croatian capital can boast with having a ski resort situated only about 20 minutes car ride from the city center. Sljeme is the highest point of the area, at 1,035 metres high and the whole centre took the its name from this peak. It is not dramatically high but if there is no natural snow, artificial snow is provided from machines. It has five ski runs, two ski lifts and a triple chairlift. There’s night skiing on the Red Slope and the White Meadow.
Ski slopes and ski lifts are situated on the peak ridge and on the north slopes of mountain Medvednica. The ski slopes begin almost on the very top of the mountain and continue to spread gently across the peak ridge on the Bijela livada (White Meadow) towards east and steeply towars north on the Crveni spust (Red Slope). Next to the Crveni spust (Red Slope) on the north side of the ridge there are also Zeleni (Green), Plavi (Blue) and Bijeli (White) Slopes. Total length of the slopes is about 4.000 meters. Due to their relative gentleness, the slopes are quite suitable for beginners and children.
There are two T-bar ski lifts (on the White and Green Slopes) and a three-chairlift (on the Red Slope), which have a total capacity of about 3.300 skiers per hour. Crveni (Red) Slope, Bijela livada (White Meadow), Zeleni (Green) Slope and parts of the Plavi (Blue) Slope are equipped with snowmaking facilities. A lighting system allows for night skiing on the Crveni (Red) Slope and Bijela livada (White Meadow).
Beside the ski slopes, there are several hiking paths, which are very well marked and when covered in snow they look magnificent.
Every skiing season there are a number of skiing competitions held on the ski slopes of Sljeme, among which the most famous and the most prestigious is the FIS World Ski Cup competition. On the ski slopes of mountain Medvednica the best Croatian skiers, Janica and Ivica Kostelić, made their first ski steps on their journey to ski fame.
FIS World Ski Cup competition
Snow Queen (Croatian: Snježna kraljica) is a World Cup alpine ski race in Croatia. The men’s and women’s slalom races take place on the Medvednica mountaintop Sljeme, just north of Zagreb, usually in early January. The women’s race debuted in 2005 and the men’s event was added three years later in 2008. The events are held on the Red run ski track on Medvednica, starting at an elevation of 985 m (3,232 ft) and ending at 785 m (2,575 ft). Besides the city events in Moscow and Munich, it is the only World Cup event held near a large metropolitan area.
Its current prize fund of €120,000 is one of the largest on the World Cup circuit, with a winner’s share of €46,000. The race has been known to attract up to 25,000 spectators, making it one of the largest and the most visited race on the World Cup calendar. The trophy is a crystal crown with past winners’ names imprinted on it. At the award ceremony, the winners of the men’s and ladies’ races are crowned Snow King and Queen and presented with a cloak and sits on a throne like a queen (king).
Snow Queen Trophy races were admitted to the Club5 Ski Classics, which gathers traditional organisers of the FIS Ski World Cup races. Zagreb has thus joined the company of the leading organisers of the FIS Ski World Cup races, including Val Gardena, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Kitzbühel, Wengen and Val d’Isere.
Sljeme is approximately 20 minutes from Zagreb by car/taxi. Bus links are available from Mihaljevac. Distance from Sljeme ski resort to Zagreb airport is 33 km.
You can take the tram number 14 direction Mihaljevac. At the last station, switch to a small one cabin tram number 15 to Dolje. At the last stop of Number 15, there’s a bus station (bus to Tomislavov Dom). The bus takes you straight to the top of the mountain. The only problem is, it doesn’t run very often.
The distance of just 10 km between Mount Medvednica and the capital of Croatia, Zagreb, offers various kinds of rest after skiing at a ski resort: walks around a European capital – Zagreb, quality shopping in Zagreb and its suburbs, restaurants and disco parties, there are european spas and wellness-centres with the thermal waters from Jezercica resort 5 km away from the ski resort and the thermal resort Tuheljske Toplice 20 km away from the Sljeme ski resort of Zagreb.
Costs of daily ski-pass:
- Day skiing weekends (9:00-16:00) – 13 €.
- Day skiing (9:00-16:00) – 10 €.
- Children (up to 15 years old) day skiing – 7 €.
- Night skiing on Tuesday and Thursday (19:00–22:00) – 7 €.